Bryant, Schwarber Promoted

I'm not around much this week, but a quick note to give you a new thread to chat on. 4th overall pick Kyle Schwarber assaulted the Northwest League for a few days and got a quick promotion to Kane County and the Midwest League yesterday. Then after Kris Bryant won the home run derby in the Southern League All-Star game, he got his promotion to AAA to play along side Javier Baez. I haven't seen what the Iowa roster shake-up will be to make room for Bryant to play 3b, but demoting Christian Villanueva would probably make the most sense. I did see something that Villanueva may try some other positions as well.

On the rumor front, the Cubs have upped their offer to Samardzija on a deal that would be in the 5-year range (sans no-trade clause). The amount hasn't been uncovered, but Homer Bailey's $17.5M per year average would probably have to be the baseline to get Samardzija even interested. Presuming Samardzija spurns them again, the front office is still checking out offers with the Giants (Kyle Crick being their top pitching prospect) and Royals (Kyle Zimmer would be theirs) being the most prominently named.

 

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Thanks Reds

Hell of a game today. Arrieta dominated: 7 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 H, 11 SO. Strop looked good in the 8th. Rizzo 3-5 with a double, Castro 3-5 with 2 doubles, Sweeney 2-4 and one of the outs was a smoked line drive, Schierholtz with a 3-run bomb to right. Fun to watch.

The Feldman trade is looking better every day. They lost 3 months of a free agent to be pitcher and Clevenger, who hasn't done anything for Baltimore, and got what could be a solid 3-4 starter in Arrieta and a good 7th-8th inning guy in Strop.

Arrieta's slider has been sick the last couple of starts. My hopes for him are raised.

Cubbery has me just where it wants me...

Arrieta has actually looked pretty good all year but he wasn't managing pitch counts well to start so was putting too much pressure on the bullpen. He seems to have fixed that, albeit small sample size.

Must say I am pretty excited for what this team could look like in 2015 with only a few changes.

I completely agree. They had enough close games that, if they had one or two more legit bats and a solid back of the bullpen (which they kind of do now), they could easily be at .500, or even better.

I just realized I'm very excited at the mere prospect of watching a .500 team.

And now I'm sad, again.

I just watched some Kris Bryant home run replays on milb.com. I'm happy, again.

I like to focus on the "or even better part"

viz to AAA (about time).

Rivero headed to AAA with Vizcaino and Bryant it seems: http://www.bleachernation.com/2014/06/18/whoa-arod...

And, yes, I have purchased my tickets to the local Round Rock facility for July 19. I'm hoping the Iowa Oaks....errr, I mean, the Iowa Cubs, put on a huge fireworks display. Bryant is coming up just in time, and hopefully I see Vizcaino too.

Already had the Thursday game penciled into my schedule. With these developments, I may make the trek up to Round Rock a couple of extra times during the I-Cubs series, it will be the only Cubs baseball I get to see this year. With the Astros switching to AL, there isn't a single Chicago Cubs game within driving distance of Austin, TX this year. Looked earlier this year and I believe the closest was 15 hours to St Louis. It always seemed short sighted to me to not have a National League team in one the most populous states in the country. Thought the DH in Colorado would have been more interesting.

Yeah, I'd like to see all the games in RR, but I just can't fit them in. The switch to the AL was a little frustrating. Maybe we'll be looking at the San Antonio Marlins Alamos in a decade or so.

kershaw no-hitter through 8...would be a perfect game if not for a han-ram error.

only once has he been in a 3-ball count. 100 pitches. 14Ks...career high.

...and he gets his no-hitter.

107 pitches. 9ip 0h 0bb 15Ks.

Where is Wellman?

Was hoping now to get some eye-witness reports from our "Man in Des Moines", Mike Wellman, on what could be one of the best two hitters in the same lineup in a very long time.

Maybe he moved?

Mike?

Still here, E-Man. I'll see what I can do. Planning to be there tonight, weather permitting, which is iffy...

You will be the AZ Phil of the summer in popularity with your posts.

Atta boy Mike! Will be enjoying reading whatever you post - and thanks in advance.

Cherry-picked WGAF stat, but the Cubs are 17-15 over their last 32.

I'm very curious to see how Baez finishes off this season. He got really hot a few weeks ago, but then has cooled off the past week or so. He's hitting just .215 with a .696 OPS. But the scary thing is that he still leads the team in HR and RBI, and is second to only Alcantara in Runs and SB (he is 12 for 14).

I'm not a big fan of his buggy-whip swing. I think before he cracks into the big leagues, he'll have to adjust that. I was trying to think of an MLB comp with a swing like his- Bautista, maybe? Sheffield.

I'm never 100% what people mean when they say "buggy-whip swing," but I tend to think the focus is on the hands with that term. Apologies if I'm mistaken. As for Baez, I'm more concerned about his very long stride and extremely violent rear leg drive/hip rotation. I wouldn't mind if he sacrificed a little bit of bat speed in toning down his lower body to stay under control better. Or if he does that at least in certain situations. But I think he maybe should let his hands do what they do.

Despite Bryant's high K%, I feel better about him than Baez merely because his swing is pretty conventional.

I don't have exact numbers but over a reasonable period lately stats-wise Bryant has dropped his K's to about 21%. I read it somewhere. So, instead of pitchers adjusting to him in AA, he adjusted to them. Which is why he got his promotion I guess. There is nothing at all wrong with 21% if that's where he ends up. Not with that bat and total bases numbers.

21% for a power hitter is close to fantastic

So What Should a Jeff Samardzija Extension Cost?
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/so-what-should-a-je...

nice notion...if one wants to believe (or happens to know) that money is his sole motivation. while he's been quite respectful of the cubs in their current state, he has slowly shrunk away from view and seems to be 100% uninterested in being a team leader even though he shows up ready to do his job every 5th day. he doesn't avoid the media, but he usually has very little to say or gives stock situational answers to questions.

beyond that...since when are FA signings or extensions on established players a place to find a good deal? these types of deals so rarely lead to a good deal...or even an average deal...

these player's values are driven by the needs of various teams, demands for their services, similar players held or on the market, and the budgets of the pursuing teams...amongst other things.

even a chunk of theocorp's recent 1-year player contracts looking for lightning-in-a-bottle weren't good deals given what they had shown in past stats. jason hammel got $6m. scott feldman got $6m. ...worked out for the cubs, though.

dave cameron knows this, too...

"Teams that have spoken with them say the Cubs expect to move Jason Hammel in the next two weeks"

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/11105021/rays-ph...

BOB R: Mark this on your calendar:

Best bet is that Jason Hammel will be traded on Wednesday July 2nd, the first day of the 2014-15 International Signing Period (ISP) and the first day that a club's 2014-15 International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) Signing Bonus Values (SBV) can be traded. In fact, that may not be the only trade the Cubs make that day.

Because the Cubs way overspent on International Free-Agents subject to ISBP last year, they can't sign an IFA subject to ISBP for more than a $250K bonus in the 2014-15 ISP that runs from July 2nd through June 15, 2015, so their nearly-$4M in 2014-15 ISBP doesn't have much value to the Cubs, but the four Cub 2014-15 SBVs should have value to other clubs that can spend freely on IFA subject to ISBP restrictions in the 2014-15 ISP. 

Cubs 2014-15 ISBP SBV #1: $2,288,700
Cubs 2014-15 ISBP SBV #2: $458,000
Cubs 2014-15 ISBP SBV #3: $309,300
Cubs 2014-15 ISBP SBV #4: $206,700

NOTE: Cubs 2014-15 ISBP SBV #1 (the one worth $2,288,700) can ONLY be traded to HOU or MIA if the entire SBV is to be used, because for all other clubs a $2,288,700 SBV would exceed their pre-assigned 2014-15 ISBP by more than 50%, and a club cannot acquire an SBV that is more than 50% of the club's orginally-assigned ISBP for that International Signing Period. However, a club other than HOU or MIA could acquire Cubs SBV #1 and then subtract as much of it as is necessary so that the final total of Cubs SBV #1 is no more than 50% of the new club's originally-assigned 2014-15 ISBP (and then the balance of Cubs SBV #1 would just be forfeited).

All clubs receive an additional $700,000 in their ISBP that cannot be traded, so the Cubs 2014-15 ISBP is just under $4M.

Last year on July 2nd the Cubs traded Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger to the Orioles for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop and a BAL SBV, traded 2B Roni Torreyes to the Astros for a HOU SBV, and traded Carlos Marmol and one of their own SBV to LAD for Matt Guerrier... all on July 2nd.

So look for the Cubs to trade Hammel and one or two of of their four SBV someplace on July 2nd (a 2014-15 SBV cannot be traded until July 2nd and it cannot be used to satisfy a PTBNL, so it has to be traded at the time the trade is made), and an additional trade or two involving Cubs 2014-15 SBV on 7/2 is certainly not out of the question.  

At least as far as the Cubs are concerned, July 2nd could be as big a day as the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline or the August 31st post-season roster deadline.

Also, the 2014 Rule 4 Competitive Balance Draft Lottery will be held on Juiy 21st, so a 2015 Rule 4 Competitive Balance draft pick could be part of a trade involving Jeff Samarrzja if the Cubs wait until the last ten days of July to trade The Shark and the deal is made with a club that has a Competitive Balance draft pick to trade.

EXAMPLE: The Cubs could trade Samardzija to BAL for (let's say) Dylan Bundy, Hunter Harvey, and the Orioles 2015 Rule 4 Competitive Balance Draft pick, although for that to happen the trade could not be made until after the Competitive Balance Draft Lottery on July 21st.

Phil, can those SBV's somehow be packaged as PTBNL on a deal made before July 2nd?

He covered that - (a 2014-15 SBV cannot be traded until July 2nd and it cannot be used to satisfy a PTBNL, so it has to be traded at the time the trade is made)

Derrr ... I read through it twice. My brain ain't what it used to be.

CARLITO: An SBV cannot be substituted for a PTBNL and it cannot be sold for cash, but there is no restriction in the rule about trading an SBV for a PTBNL.

However, the problem would be that since an SBV can only be traded during the ISP to which it applies and an SBV can only be traded during the MLB regular season, the normal PTBNL requirements that a PTBNL must be named within six months and the right of the two clubs to agree in advance to a specific cash amount as a substitute for the PBNL if the clubs cannot agree on a player within six months of the trade would probably make trading an SBV for a PTBNL a bit tricky.

For it to work the PTBNL would have to be named prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season and also the player would have to be named during the ISP to which the SBV applies, and there could be no option to substitute the PTBNL with cash. So even though there is nothing in the rule to prevent trading an SBV for a PTBNL, the MLB Commissioner might not approve the trade if there is any chance that the two clubs won't be able to agree on a player or if the PTBNL cannot be named prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season (like if Trade Assignment Waivers would be required to make the trade).

Here is how it might possibly happen: 

Let's say a club (the Blue Jays, just for an example) want the Cubs #2 SBV on July 2nd (when it has the most value) and the Cubs want a player who was selected by the Jays in the 2013 Rule 4 Draft (June Draft) in return, but the player the Cubs want did not sign until the 2013 Rule 4 Draft signing deadline (which was July 12th last year). That player cannot (by rule) be traded until the 1st anniversary of the player signing his first contract (the first anniversary being July 12, 2014). The Cubs 2014-15 ISBP is available (and 2014-15 SBVs can be traded) as of July 2, 2014, so the Cubs could trade one of its 2014-15 SBV to Toronto on July 2nd for a PTBNL, as long as the player is specifically identified and known to both clubs and to the MLB Commissioner (with no cash substitute option). Then on July 12th (the first date the player can be traded/named) the player would be transferred from the Jays to the Cubs.

It's the PTBNL cash substitute option and the right of the two clubs to wait up to six months to complete the trade that would be the hang-up. 

One other thing to keep in mind about trading an SBV versus trading a Rule 4 Competitive Balance draft pick.

Both can only be traded during the MLB regular season, but while an SBV can be flipped to a third team, a Rule 4 Competitive Balance draft pick can only be traded once. 

So if there is a club that wants Jason Hammel but doesn't have any use for a Cubs SBV because the club acquiring Hammel can't or won't sign high-priced IFAs, the club to which the SBV is traded could move the ex-Cubs SBV to a third club in exchange for a player sometime later.

bryant hitting 5th...welly also playing tonight in iowa on rehab, batting 2nd and catching.

Welly batting second for 1st time ever? Obviously trying to get him his swings, but talk about a basepath clogger! ;)

it's yet another reminder of the true role of the minor leagues...in this case, getting some rehab ABs. i'd be surprised if he plays a full 9 unless it's a quick game.

our old friend daniel bard just got released by TEX even though he never gave up a hit in his 4 minor league appearances.

4 games... 0.2ip 0h 9bb 1k, 7hbp, 13er... 175.50era/13.50whip...in A ball.

yow. i dunno what's more spectacular...the 9 walks or the 7hbp. he faced 18 batters and 13 scored.

Thoracic outlet surgery 1, Daniel Bard 0

send him down

bryant k's first ab

Apologies if this was posted in a previous thread...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/columnists/ct...

Submitted without comment, because, Crane Kenney

Bryant, welcome to AAA. 2 run HR in 7th.

BRING HIM UP!!!!

After July 19. Thanks

Dude is unreal ...

Bryant might still amount to nothing in the MLB but I think the interesting thing to remember is if they had overpaid FAs just to add a few wins and appease the fans we wouldn't have Bryant and still wouldn't have won anything meaningful.

Not sure if an Instagram link will work on here as it's my first time trying to post one here, but someone took this brief video of Bryant's homer last night and posted it on Twitter: http://instagram.com/p/pc4WY2hJo6/

He of the non-jerky, non-loopy, smooth swing. He started off his triple A career leaving 6 men on the bases, so he doesn't get too down, either.

Draft Signing Update for those interested: http://ccdt.webs.com/

They just officially signed 2nd Round Pick Jake Stinnett for $1.0 million (Cubs.com article), and now have signed picks 1-5, 7-8, 11-14, 16, 18-22, 25-27, 32. That's 21 total picks signed, with 5 more likely (including picks 6, 9, and 10).

it's really impressive managing to sign all but one of the 4-8 pick...and that one leftover may still sign.

it's not like those kids should have gone higher, but all had leverage to wait it out for another draft class.

Seems like the norm for these guys. In 2012 they signed picks 1-18 (and there were 2 compensation picks as well, so 20 total); and in 2013 they signed 1-13.

i was interested to see how the cubs 4-8 picks would go in this year's class because it consisted of a number of HS + college JR kids who could probably bump themselves up in the draft going to jr college, 4yr university, or finishing their SR year of college. a few of them seemed like gambles and they've signed all but 1 so far.

it wasn't like they picked future 1st/2nd round picks based upon their current talent level, but a slew of those guys could go a few rounds earlier in the future given more experience and a good showing while doing it.

I am also impressed how Garza, Feldman, and Cashner were turned into Rizzo, Strop, CJ Edwards, Neil Ramirez, and Arrieta. I think I forgot someone, but you get the idea. Theo/Hoyer screwups are far outnumbered by good trades and draft signings.

Dale Sveum was the biggest screw up, but now that Rizzo and Castro(!) have come around, all is forgiven. I was not sold on Renteria, especially with his goofy lineups at first, but he's winning me over. This seems to be a team that plays decent baseball, and those lineups, well, he's got shit to work with. I can't really think of the last team that didn't piss me off repeatedly in the fundamentals department. Do these guys do dumb things sometimes? I'm sure they do but I don't see enough games to see them. All I know is that when I have had time to watch, they have played pretty watchable baseball when they aren't hitting, and with Castro hot, even that is not so bad this week.

2011: Cubs signed 20 of their first 22 picks
2010: Cubs signed 15 of their first 16 picks
2009: Cubs signed 14 of their first 15 picks (including first 12)
2008: Cubs signed 26 of their first 27 picks (including first 10)
2007: Cubs signed 23 of their first 24 picks (including first 18)
2006: Cubs signed 19 of their first 21 picks (including first 12) 

So signing a high percentage of their draft picks (ncluding most of the high ones) is nothing new for the Cubs. They have been doing that for years.

Whether the current regime will be different from (better than) the previous one as far as developing draft picks into MLB talent is still TBD, but most of the 17 Area Scouts the Cubs employ in 2014 are the exact same ones (Tim Wilken's boys) the previous regime employed in 2011, and some of Wilken's Area Scouts were even promoted. For example, Jim "Craw Dad" Crawford (the former Cubs Arkansas Area Scout who recommended Hayden Simpson to Wilken in 2010) was promoted to Scouting Supervisor by the current regime, and a couple of others were transferred to the Professional Scouting section or promoted to a National Cross-Checker position. 

The big change is in the area of Professional Scouting (the section responsible for scouting the minor leagues and independent ball). The Cubs have doubled their number of Professional Scouts, and most of the Professional Scouts the Cubs employed in 2011 were fired. That's where the big changes were made. Not in amateur scouting (area scouts).  

Putting a greater emphasis on Professional Scouting allows the Cubs to have updated scouting reports available on all players in the minor leagues, which they use when making trades, waiver claims, and selections in the Rule 5 draft, and also for future use in the event the player reaches the big leagues. The Cubs also "self-scout" their own system instead of just relying on reports from their minor league managers and coaches.  

The Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod regime also hired more scouts in Latin America (especially in Venezuela). Even though they just built a new academy in the Dominican Republic, the Cubs now sign as many Venezuelan players as they do Dominican players (it used to be about 60% Dominican and 40% Venezuelan), and the Venezuelan players they sign now stay in Venezuela and play for the VSL Cubs instead of playing in the DSL. 

Putting a greater emphasis on scouting in Venezuela is the Cubs taking advantage of a "market inefficiency," as many MLB clubs have reduced their presence in Venezuela over the past few years.  

The Cubs still have a scouting presence in the Pacific Rim, but the new regime has not signed any Australian players (the last one was signed in 2008) and the Cubs have signed only one Taiwanese player and one South Korean player since 2010. The Cubs have also not signed any European players since Italian catcher Alberto Mineo in 2010.

I think the bigger surprise seems to be signing players who were considered "tough" signs in rounds 3 on. Have the Cubs done that in the past or picked "easy" signs in the past? That's the more important question.

JOHANN: Jeff Samardzija, Chris Huseby, Drew Rundle, Cliff Andersen, Jordan Latham,. and Nate Samson in 2006, Ryan Acosta and James Russell in 2007, Logan Watkins and Matt Cerda in 2008, Brooks Raley, Nick Struck, Trey McNutt, and Austin Kirk in 2009, Austin Reed, Dustin Geiger, and Ben Wells in 2010, and Dillon Maples, Shawon Dunston Jr, Rock Shoulders, Trevor Gretzky, Kevin Rhoderick, and Michael Jensen in 2011, were all considered "tough" signs at the time they signed.  

Wow...Drew Rundle, Cliff Andersen, AND Chris Huseby?? What a haul!

Oof...

DUSTY B: At the time they were drafted, Baseball America had Drew Rundle ranked in their top 125, Chris Huseby had been one of the top-rated HS juniors in 2005 before suffering a torn elbow UCL and undergoing TJS, and Cliff Andersen was a two-sport player (baseball and football). All three players were considered tough signs with all three having signed NLIs with college baseball power-houses, and so all three of them wanted more money than their projected draft position would warrant. 

Huseby was going to Auburn, Rundle to the U. of Arizona, and Andersen was headed for Oklahoma State to play baseball and football (Andersen's father played college football at BYU and his younger brother Boo was a star linebacker at the U. of Utah). The Cubs gave Huseby "1st round money" to forgo his scholarship at Auburn.

Huseby was ranked by Baseball America as a Cubs Top 10 Prospect after his first season, he led the organizatiion in ERA in 2008, and he was a MWL All-Star closer in 2009, but he came down with a real bad case of "Steve Blass Disease" (could not throw strikes) and was eventually moved to the OF. The Red Sox signed Huseby after the Cubs released him and moved him back to pitcher, but it didn't work out.  

Rundle was a very good defensive outfielder (he was a WR in HS so he was great at tracking fly balls) with a really good batting eye (took a lot of walks), but he was a poor hitter (passive with soft contact) and never developed any power and so he was eventually moved from OF to LHP. He signed with the Phillies after the Cubs released him, but it didn't work out there, either. (Rundle was a lot like Garrett Schlecht, the Cubs 9th round pick in 2011 out of an Illinois HS who was converted from OF to LHP this season by the Rockies after the Cubs released him).  

Andersen was an outstanding defensive CF flyhawk (he was football safety) but he had a below average arm and he had difficulty making contact. He was a VERY raw hitter. Too many swings & misses. I did see him hit a 450-foot HR over the Batter's Eye at Fitch Park in an EXST game, however, and so the talent was there, it just never developed.   

Again, its the process versus results. The process was actually solid, but the results unfortunately were not. And that's the danger when you draft & sign raw HS kids with "upside." You are depending heavily on the Player Development people to work their magic, except the Cubs Player Development Dept. under the previous regime left a lot to be desired. 

Needless to say, there was a bit of a disconnect between scouting and player development under the previous regime.   

COACH: Why did they draft this guy!?
SCOUT: What have they done to my boy!?

Now Jason McLeod is in charge of both scouting & player development, so hopefully the Cubs will do a better job of drafting & developing high-ceiling HS kids. 

BTW, I wouldn't be surprised to see McLeod get an MLB GM job somewhere in the next couple of years. He is a bright bulb.

In talking to lots of scouts over the years, I would say the consensus seems to be the following:

In general, the type of draft picks who are the best bets to succeed go like this... 

1. College hitters
2. College pitchers
2. HS pitchers
4. HS hitters

With a few exceptions (the elite talents), it is best to stay away from HS hitters. You usually have to overpay to buy them out of their scholarship, and the track record is minimal. Too much projection, not enough performance.

Generally speaking.

AZ: That's interesting to hear 2nd person, as Bill James has stated the same thing generally statistically.

Well, there is really no where to go but up from Hendry. In 9 years of drafting there were only a few guys who ever became solid big league players:

Sean Marshall 2003
Casey McGehee 2003
Jeff Samardzija 2006
Josh Donaldson 2007
Andrew Cashner 2008

And there have been a few other guys like Sam Fuld, Darwin Barney, Jerry Blevins, and James Russell that at least have contributed. But it's a pretty dismal record. And the 2010 draft looks like a complete bust. 2011 still has hope with Baez, Vogelbach, Shoulders, Lopez and a few others working their way up.

So then why did the new regime retain the vast majority of the Area Scouts they inherited (even promoting a couple)?

Apparently the new regime was satisfied with the amateur scouting. The big chenges were made in Professional Scouting and Player Development. The Player Development Dept. just could not consistently develop the many highly-regarded drafted and IFA players they were given. 

They may have kept scouts but Theo changed the way they scouted. Whether it ultimately makes a difference in the future is still open as we see who makes it but it's disingenuous to imply there weren't changes.

Theo changed the way they scouted.
---
There were technology advances too. Video was almost never used and when Theo got there video and other info could be electronically shared instead of having handwritten notes to go on from some crusty manilla folder with spilled coffee on it. He didn't reinvent the wheel, just brought them into the 21st century.

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2013/0430/mlb_hof_koufa...

JOHANN: I wasn't being "disingenuous." You're full of shit. You don't even know what you're talking about.

Submitted by johann
on Sat, 06/21/2014 - 7:14am

I think the bigger surprise seems to be signing players who were considered "tough" signs in rounds 3 on. Have the Cubs done that in the past or picked "easy" signs in the past? That's the more important question.

Submitted by Arizona Phil
on Sat, 06/21/2014 - 7:36am

JOHANN: Jeff Samardzija, Chris Huseby, Drew Rundle, Cliff Andersen, Jordan Latham,. and Nate Samson in 2006, Ryan Acosta and James Russell in 2007, Logan Watkins and Matt Cerda in 2008, Brooks Raley, Nick Struck, Trey McNutt, and Austin Kirk in 2009, Austin Reed, Dustin Geiger, and Ben Wells in 2010, and Dillon Maples, Shawon Dunston Jr, Rock Shoulders, Trevor Gretzky, Kevin Rhoderick, and Michael Jensen in 2011, were all considered "tough" signs at the time they signed.  

You completely were. Someone does a post showing how drafting in the Hendry era was poor and your response was stating how the scouts were the same and so Theo must have been happy with them and either you're piss poor at forming and following an argument (which is possible since your response to me was nothing more than I'm full of shit) or you're implying that things are the same scouting and drafting wise, which is untrue. Can you acknowledge that a lot of things go into scouting beyond who the scouts are and that Theo has changed a lot?

Some people lauding you for your ability to record minutiae doesn't give you license to be a complete tool.

the higher ups may be doing different things with the collected data or sending more eyes to back up a report with some checkers, but it's hard to believe scouts are out there doing their thing differently. scouting is rather straight forward (not counting the makeup + off-field research)...they know all the major points to look for and it's the minor points the scouts can "sell" with their reports that make them more special than one of their peers.

a lot of the more talented scouts are better with makeup+off-field rather than the straight forward stuff that most scouts know to check for to begin with. until the internet and social media became a wide-open book stuff like this was more difficult to check out. no one wants to draft another jeff allison.

This is one of the links I remembered reading about it. Does look like they did change how the scouts did things

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10622213/theo-ep...

Cubs scouts are expected to be the first ones in a prospect's home. Hitters are put through a battery of proprietary video-game-style tests to gauge hand-eye coordination and pitch recognition. Cubs players at every level are required to play these "games" daily. This reliance on "neuro-scouting" is a byproduct of Epstein's contention that analytics are flat because anyone with a credit card and a laptop has access to the same information as big league decision makers. The scouts are expected to determine the answers to an exhaustive list of questions. Who is the family's decision maker? How clean do they keep the house? Who does most of the talking? Is this the type of kid who'll be able to handle living away from his parents and girlfriend?

"The currency of the draft is information," Epstein says. "Scouting information, statistical information, makeup information, medical information. In each of those buckets, we have to drill deeper if we want to have an advantage."

It's a big change from the previous regime, whose old-school methods prompted the overhaul. When one of Epstein's hires told scouts they'd be using Microsoft Excel for scheduling, one asked, "Sorry, but what is Excel?" When McLeod took over player development, just eight of 24 area scouts had email linked to their smartphones. "Hendry is a great guy, but this was the Stone Age," says a player-development source no longer with the team. "A report would be, 'Plus-plus makeup -- I love this kid.' What does that even mean?" Scouts did not take video of players -- a basic and invaluable task with today's technology. The job of one executive under the computer-shy Hendry consisted of scanning the Internet for relevant stories and distributing printouts twice a day. "Theo finally told him to stop," the source says. "They let the guy go, which is sad, but nobody needs stuff that's three hours old when they have MLB Trade Rumors up on their computers and the app on their phone."

JOHANN: If you choose to tell me that I am being "ingeneuous" or that I am a "tool" then I have the right to tell you that you're full of shit, because you are full of shit. 

As far as my ability to record "minutiea" (as you call it), it's information you can't get anywhere else, a lot of people seem to be interested in it, and it is a LOT of work for which I do not get paid. 

So you know what you can do with yourself? Guess.

Yeah, what Johann and Cubster said below. Success in the draft is much more than just who the scouts are. There have been big changes that have been well documented.

Fine, except I wasn't talking about bringing the Scouting Department into the 21st century by having the scouts file scouting reports electronically instead of by mail or using video or giving the scouts Smart Phones. I specifically was talking about the scouts themselves, who despite what yuo might think are still the backbone of any "21st Century" scouting department. 

While the Cubs completely reorganized their Professional Scouting staff (the scouts who scout the Minor Leagues, Indy Leagues, and self-scout the Cubs organization), the 17 Area Scouts (Stan Zielinski, Billy Swoope, Steve McFarland, Keith Lockhart, et al -- the scouts who scout HS and college players for the Rule 4 Draft) have mostly remained exactly the same as prior to the arrival of Theo/Hoyer/McLeod, and two or three of them were even promoted, including current Cubs Scouting Supervisor Jim "Craw Dad" Crawford, the Arkansas Area Scout who recommended Hayden Simpson to Tim Wilken in 2010... the very same Hayden Simpson considered to be one of the worst Cubs 1st roumd picks in draft history. 

So obviously at least as far as the players selected in the Rule 4 Draft are concerned, the scouting process outweighs results. At least it apparently does to Theo/Hoer/McLeod.

Oh, and BTW, you might want to add Josh Harrison to your lame-ass list of recent Cubs draft picks who have become useful major league players. He was pretty fucking useful last night to the Pirates at Wrigley Field, and in fact he has been a valuable "contributor" to the Pirates all year.  

And once again (since you apparently skipped over this part); 

2011: Cubs signed 20 of their first 22 picks
2010: Cubs signed 15 of their first 16 picks
2009: Cubs signed 14 of their first 15 picks (including first 12)
2008: Cubs signed 26 of their first 27 picks (including first 10)
2007: Cubs signed 23 of their first 24 picks (including first 18)
2006: Cubs signed 19 of their first 21 picks (including first 12) 

So signing a high percentage of their draft picks (including most of the high ones) is nothing new for the Cubs. They have been doing that for years. It didn't just start in 2012 (despite what you implied). 

There is no need for that. We were having a normal discussion, you don't have to resort to these types of attacks just because we disagree.

I didn't skip over a part or imply anything about previous drafts. I posted a comment on this draft signing. Crunch then said he thought it was impressive that they signed this many. I then said that the last 2 drafts were similar. You then added that the rates were similar under Hendry. There is no need for me to re-write that or reaffirm it. There is no disagreement there. We are all learning from each other. Relax.

Also, my "lame list" -- is there really a need to call it that and to drop the f-bomb? -- is a full list of every major league player ever drafted by the Cubs since 1965 with the number of years they have played, position, WAR, etc. I maintain it and had a guest post with this data last year I believe and use it for other comments and posts (like the one on the Dodgers vs. Cubs best drafts a few weeks ago). So I wouldn't call it lame. And I didn't mention Josh Harrison on that short list in the comment because so far he has never had even more than 250 ABs in a season and has a career OPS of .688 (and that's after his hot start to this year). But here is the full list of everyone drafted and signed by Hendry that has made the majors so far if you want it:

Sean Marshall
Jake Fox
Casey McGehee
Darin Downs
Sam Fuld
Eric Patterson
Sean Gallagher
Jerry Blevins
Mitch Atkins
Russ Canzler
Donald Veal
Jeff Samardzija
Tyler Colvin
Steve Clevenger
Blake Parker
Josh Vitters
Josh Donaldson
Darwin Barney
Brandon Guyer
James Russell
Andrew Cashner
Ryan Flaherty
Chris Carpenter
Josh Harrison
Tony Campana
Casey Coleman
Jeff Beliveau
Logan Watkins
Erik Hamren
Brett Jackson
DJ LeMahieu
Chris Rusin
Brooks Raley
Justin Bour

WISCGRAD: You have to admit it was a lame-ass list, but the one you just posted is not. 

I mentioned Josh Harrison mainly because he did have a good game against his former team last night and he has played very well this season, and so I felt it was an obvious name that you should probably include in any short list of "contributors" since the Cubs are actually playing his team this weekend. 

As for the rest of it, as I said I wasn't talking about the new regime bringing the Cubs Scouting Department into the 21st Century by the use of video and electonic filing of reports, etc. I was talking about the scouts themselves, who (from having talked to dozens of them over the years) I can say are the backbone of any Scouting Dept. For some reason you decided to turn it into some kind of a post about how there is more to scouting than scouts, when I wasn't talking about thde other stuff at all. I was specifically talking about how the new regime retained the vast majority of the Area Scours they inherited.

Also: "So obviously at least as far as the players selected in the Rule 4 Draft are concerned, the scouting process outweighs results." Yes, you focus on the process--though if the results are consistently bad you revisit your process, like any good business model. And Epstein/Hoyer changed the process considerably, even if they kept many (but definitely not all) of the same scouts. It's not just about smartphones, but rather about what to look for and focus on when scouting, how to compile information, how that information is shared and managed, how that information is analyzed, and how that analysis informs decisions. The new regime came in and evaluated all of the existing personnel, including scouts, and kept those that it felt could confidently follow its new way of doing business and let go of those that it thought could not.

WISCGRAD: The Professional Scouting Department was completely reorganized and expanded. That's where most of the changes in scouting have occurred over the past three years. Otherwise, Area Scouts still do what they've always done, and the changes in reportuing forms, electronic filing of reports, and the use of personal communication devices hasn't changed the way the scouts scout. Theo did NOT reinvent scouting. 

The big problem Theo inherited was the Player Development Dept.

I can remember talking to players at Fitch Park over the years and you would be surprised how many players would say that one coach would tell him one thing, and a week or a month later another coach would tell him something completely different, sometimes the exact opposite. There was a manager at Extended Spring Training one year who benched guys (sometimes during a game!) if they got called out on strikes. 

You might remember back in 1998 the Cubs traded 1997 #1 draft pick Jon Garland (who was struggling in Lo-A at the time) to the White Sox for journeyman MLB RHRP Matt Karchner. When the White Sox got Garland they showed him video they had recorded of him in HS before the Cubs drafted him (the Cubs didn't do video back then) and changed his arm slot back to the way he threw in HS (when he was one of the best HS pitchers in the country), and he immediataly took off and made it to MLB very quickly. That's an example of good scouting almost ruined by bad player development and then saved by a trade. Same thing happened with Donnie Veal, but he probably wasn't saved in time. 

2005 #1 draft pick Mark Pawelek was a one-off freaky five-pitch pitcher when the Cubs drafted him, and his father had been his pitching coach. Pawelek threw every day when he was a HS oitcher in Utah, and he never had any arm problems, starting one day and throwing out of the bullpen between starts to "stay sharp." He threw five pitches (a conventional two-seam 91 MPH sinker, a four seam 95 MPH heater, a curve, a screw-ball, and a power slider), and he used all of them in games. He mixed the two fastballs back & forth, used the curve and screw ball as off-speed pitches, and the slider was his strikeout "chase" pitch. He was like a 12-cylinder Jaguar. He had to do everything a certain way in order for it to work, but when he did things his way, he got great results.  

Pawelek pitched the way he wanted to pitch (the way he was taught to pitch by his dad) his first year in the organization, but then the Cubs told him to scrap the high-velocity four-seamer, the screw-ball, and the power-slider, and throw just the two-seam sinker, the curve, and a more-conventional change-up. He also was not allowed to throw every day. If you look at his numbers, he appeared to rather suddenly "fall off the cliff" and never was able to get back to where he was in 1995 when the Cubs drafted him, and of course because he was a "failed #1 draft pick," scouting was blamed. (It was kind of like Trevor Bauer with the Diamondbacks before he got traded to Cleveland... butunfortunately for him, Pawelek didn't get traded), 

So a lot of times the scouting was actually good, but the player failed due to piss-poor player development.

The Cubs Player Development system has changed since Theo/Hoyer.McLeod took over, however. Each player is treated as an individual, and while there is a "Cubs Way," it refers to the teaching of baseball fundamentals in a certain way rather than forcing everybody to be the same player or pitcher. Also, every player has a "plan" (contract) with the organization detailing the player's weaknesses and how the player can improve. The player and all of his coaches have access to this plan at all times, and the day of one coach telling a player one thing and another coach telling him something different are gone.

My vote is that AZ Phil is neither disengious nor a tool. I certainly think he has a much better idea of how the baseball operations actually work versus most of us with a credit card and a laptop. That all being said and to echo some of the statements others made, seems some of the scouting ways have been updated and changed, but the big difference is the decision makers and the development process. Whatever McLeod, Hoyer and Theo did in the past, they did it well and some may have been just more  bonus money, but they've certainly earned the chance to fail.

"only a few guys who ever became solid big league players"

It all depends on how you define solid. If it's holding a regular job for a couple of seasons, Barney qualifies.

I'm only interested in the Wilken picks in this list, because those are the guys I've been touting here and elsewhere for several years, and the guys whose careers I still follow.

It's a week-to-week thing for a couple of these players, but at the moment these Wilken picks seem to be playing on a daily basis (or pitching on a regular basis) for major-league teams:

Donaldson (A's)
Samardzija (Cubs)
Cashner (Padres)
Harrison (Pirates)
LeMahieu (Rockies)
Colvin (Giants)
Guyer (Rays)
Russell (Cubs)

I think the Cub drafts have improved significantly under Epstein-McLeod, but one thing Wilken did well was draft players who actually could play shortstop in the majors, which has meant that guys like Barney, Flaherty, LeMahieu, Watkins, Harrison, etc., can hang around, hang around, and ultimately become solid.

Flaherty had 50 PAs in the minors last year and 41 the year before. Otherwise he's been in the majors since 2011.

Watkins should make the majors this season if there's a roster shake-up in July.

Vitters is having a tough year in a league where he has been successful in the past, but as a #3 pick, he'll get a long look from at least one other team before he has to grab a lunch pail.

Highlights from Last Night:

AAA
Solid games by Alcantara (2-4 with two 2Bs, a BB and 2 R) playing second base and Baez (3-4, 2B, 4 RBI). Bryant was 0-5 with 3 Ks. Castillo 1-5 in his rehab outing. Kyle Hendricks had a solid start (7.2 IP 3 H, 1 ER, 6 Ks), but Vizcaino struggled in his AAA debut, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk while recording only on out.

AA
Stephen Bruno continues to hit (2-6) and Villanueva is adjusting well (1-3, 3 BB).

A+
Almora was just 1-5, but Vogelbach was 2-5 with a 2B and 2 RBI

A
Schwarber ended up 2-3 with a BB, 2B, HR, 2 R and an RBI

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